Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Morgan Uber: I am a Texas native sports-loving storyteller. Growing up, my life revolved around sports. I played just about everything under the sun, and truth be told, I really wasn’t ever that great at any of them. However, I loved the adrenaline, challenge, and traditions I experienced as an athlete.
By the time I was a freshman in high school, I knew what I wanted to do as a career for the rest of my life. Not many people can say that. I would find myself racing home from lacrosse practice on Saturday mornings at the age of 14 to catch Lee Corso make his pick and put on that headgear on College GameDay. Little did I know at that age, the thick skin, the sacrifices, and the grit it would take to make it in this industry.
I am now the Network Correspondent of the Division I Sports Conference – the Patriot League. I am the on-air talent for the Network, hosting a variety of different shows throughout the week. I also have the opportunity to sideline report for football and basketball through our PLN partner, Stadium. My favorite part of the job is that I am a one-man-band feature reporter. I tell the stories of the student-athletes and coaches in the Patriot League by traveling to the campuses across the Northeast to conduct interviews, and then I get to come back to our home base in Bethlehem, PA to produce the features. It’s extremely rewarding to show what they are doing outside of their sport or how they’ve overcome adversity.
Taylor: Networking is a huge part of SMG. How has networking helped your career and how can people do it effectively?
Morgan: I am extremely lucky. I graduated from the University of Missouri. There is a so-called “Mizzou Mafia,” which is essentially a group of alumni who now are in their professional careers who also graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism. I landed my first job with FOX Sports Kansas City before I graduated, working as a Freelance Reporter from utilizing that network.
In the journalism industry, you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I like to think of myself as someone who has never met a stranger. I thrive off meeting new people and striking up conversations wherever I am. By having that mindset, essentially I’m always networking. This industry is a lot smaller than one might think, so by making the best impression on everyone that you meet will speak volumes. I also think networking is more than just making an introduction. It’s about building relationships and maintaining those relationships with people, whether it’s through prior internships, professors, or in sports specifically, with coaches, athletic directors, sports information directors, gaining perspectives and listening, I mean really listening to people, is key.
Taylor: Getting noticed is critical in this industry, I found you via your demo on YouTube, how can people stand out from the crowd?
Morgan: Figure out your strengths and what makes you excited to get out of bed in the mornings, and then showcase that. Report on that. Do a story on it. By covering what you are passionate about will bring out your one-of-a-kind personality to its fullest. I also think confidence is huge and is what makes someone who is a veteran in the industry stand out from someone who might have less experience. Be confident in the way in which you present yourself, and I think that really just comes with the repetition of being in front of a camera.
Taylor: Speaking of demo reels, what makes a great one? What tips would you have for people creating theirs?
Morgan: Hiring managers can watch the first 5 seconds off the top of your reel and know whether or not you would be a good fit for the position. Sometimes the 5 seconds may be all that you get. That being said, the first hit off the top of your reel is extremely important. Show that you are versatile. I mean this in a number of ways. First, if you are a sports reporter, show that you can report on a variety of different sports. Demonstrate a variety of different types of emotions by showing hits with different tones. Use clips in a studio and use clips out in the field. Show off your personality. Just as an offensive coordinator puts his quarterback in the best position to succeed every single play, put yourself in a position to show off your best self each and every hit you do in the studio or in the field!
Taylor: You are pretty active on social media and have your own dedicated website to your career, why is it important to have a great online personal brand?
Morgan: I think networking and building a brand go hand-in-hand. It’s all about exposure. Creating a strong digital footprint through your social media accounts is a big part of it. Scrolling through someone’s Twitter or Instagram feed, at a first glance, you can typically figure out their interests and the manner in which they carry themselves. Instead of thinking of the phrase, the Internet is forever as a negative, use that to your advantage. Create a digital footprint that makes you hirable, professional, and unique in every post, picture, or video you put out there.
Taylor: Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to make a career on-air in broadcasting?
Morgan: This is going to sound so cliché, but I really can’t think of a better way to put it: be a student of life. Try to learn something new every day, whether it’s about a team you are covering or a different technique to produce something. Don’t get complacent with yourself or your work. I am always trying to learn new tactics and improve myself both in my feature producing as well as in my on-air presence. I critique myself, and I also reach out to get critiques from mentors. I also think with the technology the way it is, we are in the midst of such an exciting time in broadcast journalism. I think being hungry to learn and push new boundaries as technology continues to grow and advance is crucial, but most importantly, remember to smile, have fun, and enjoy the journey!
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